112th Annual Conference - Riverside Convention Center, California
Friday, October 31 - Sunday, November 2, 2014

This page is about the 2014 conference. For 2015 conference info, go to PAMLA 2015.

A Workplace of Her Own

Lisa Kohlmeier, La Sierra University

This paper focuses on the physical space in which women worked and the way the spaces helped to shape the work these women accomplished. Space tells a story and helps us to understand dimensions of the ideas of women and their intellectual influence on their time.


My paper focuses on the work spaces of a group of late nineteenth century and early twentieth century women, Harlem Renaissance librarian Regina Andrews, suffrage activist Alice Paul, Diarist Alice James, amateur historian Katharine Loring, and children's book author Beatrix Potter.  In this paper I analyze the different ways these women utilized the space that was available to them, whether it was the space of the public library, the Alva Belmont House which housed the National Woman's Party in Washington D.C., the sickroom in which Alice James wrote her Diary, the historical houses Katharine Loring preserved in Beverly, Massachusetts, or the private and public homes of Beatrix Potter in the Lake District, the public home which allowed her a place to work, showcase work of local artisans, and greet visitors from all over the world and a second home which afforded her privacy in her life and marriage.  All of these spaces give important perspectives on women's work and ways they transformed or preserved the spaces available to them to give a voice to their community, to voices of the past which would otherwise have been overlooked or forgotten, and to shape and give space for their own work to emerge.  Houses and rooms tell important stories and in the lives of these women I am using the houses or rooms that were important to each as an entry point through which to view their ideas, lives, collaborations, and legacies.